(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

POST-WAR   AUSTRIAN  WRITERS                   503

these two sides are contrasted and balanced) Musil ploughs the
same furrow as Joyce, he angrily rejected the imputation that he
was indebted to anybody; and indeed he was far too original to
need discipleship. He was an exact scholar in philosophy; and so
it is not surprising that throughout his immense work we have
psychological two-dimensional probings into the inner conscious-
ness and the sub-conscious currents of his characters. What action
there is takes place in the year of destiny 1913-14; and it is con-
cerned with the social contact of characters who have formed a
committee in Vienna to prepare for the celebration there of the
Emperor's jubilee. The honorary secretary of the committee is
Ulrich, an ex-cavalry officer. Ulrich has shed his qualities; that is,
he has cast off all the acquired prejudices which today make up the
pattern of culture, the idea being that a man, if he is to be himself
and not just the type convention requires, must do without quali-
ties which represent no driving force of individuality. Having
shed his qualities, Ulrich is in a state of existence out of time and
space. Why should qualities which falsify the world exist? This
and other such problems are posed, poised, dissected, and ana-
lysed with ruthless psychological insight into the inanity of all
that by the laws of logic is not congenitally part of personality.
A man who sheds his qualities, the lesson runs, is potentially in
possession of all qualities. The world will be built up, not by
types and patterns, but by men strong in the sense of power
welling up from deep within them. Not man as he is, but as he
will be is also the theme laboriously conveyed by MusiPs drama
Die Schwarmer (1921). His comedy Vincen^ und die Freundin bedeu-
tender Manner (1924) has a heavy sense of humour. Nachlass %u
Leb^eiten (1936) is the curious title of his essays.

Another Viennese writer, HERMANN BROCH (1886-1951), wrote
one of the best essays we have on Joyce: James Joyce und die Gegen-
wart (1936), and another equally good on Hofmannsthal, whose
works he translated into English. After some trouble with the
police he escaped to America, where, after naturalization, he was
appointed professor of German at Yale University. He died in
1951 at New Haven. It is one of the curiosities of literature that
Broch's fame as one of the principal innovators of metaphysic
(or magic) realism was established in America - where he
awarded the Guggenheim prize axid the Rockfeller prize - sc
years before his work was even obtainable in Germany. His f